The Food Byte: Sugar Factory, Dubai

Friday, September 9, 2016

When 2016 bows down and the curtain is raised for the next year, I will proudly state that 2016 was the year I discovered some great places to eat. It's surprising because I'm a picky eater but with two of my friends transferred temporarily to the city of gold, Dubai all the way from San Fran stumbling upon food venues became an adventure.

Long gone are the days where I gravitate towards tried and tested restaurants. I also tried more seafood this year than ever before (no, seafood will never be a favorite of mine, just wanted to put it out there). I also happened to discover cafes catering to the sweet tooths (me!) in Dubai- these are cosy cafes that are perfectly secluded from the world. I still have more than a handful of places to visit!

And with this in mind, I present to you a not so secluded gem of a candy store and restaurant, Sugar Factory. Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, this venue will end up in your top places to visit on a weekend. 

Located at City Walk Mall and Dubai Festival City, the Sugar Factory immediately makes you feel like a kid in a candy store. The entrance is decked with walls engulfed with celebrity images (Katy Perry, Rupert Grint, Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Jamie Foxx and the likes) and just as you think you've seen enough stars, you are hit with a wave of rainbow colored candy of all kinds from jelly beans to jaw breakers and everything in between. 

The candy section is just one part. The fun is when you walk towards the inside of the restaurant to find beautiful interiors with cozy couches, marble tables and a VIP section. The menu features a vast array of drinks, breakfast options, appetizers, main course and desserts. I had a hard time deciding which drink I wanted to choose let alone the main course and desserts. This is purely because there's so much variety, it can get overwhelming for a first-timer. I ended up requesting the assistance of the attendant for recommendations and I was quite delighted with the Mai Tai. 

This particular drink is a signature drink at the Sugar Factory and features a massive goblet that the Tahitian concoction of orange, pineapple and coconut along with XL cherry gummy bears is poured into. And the moment the liquid hits the goblet, it activates the smokey visual also known as liquid nitrogen. It was a visual feast to watch the goblet transform into something that you see in Indiana Jones' adventures (watch it live in action through this video I shot). 

The drink is shareable, because let's face it- it is impossible to down this one. Gather around atleast 6 friends for this wonder. If this drink is way too much, try smaller helpings in the form of Cocktails. I recommend the American Honey, a pleasant fusion of chocolate, cream and honey with a dash of cinnamon. 

Whilst I marvelled at the goblet (it makes me feel like I'm in the medieval era everytime I use that word), our appetizers began rolling in. The Chicken, Mushroom and Cheese soup is a rich medley of chicken and mushroom. 

The Fried Mac and Cheese was a delight because it wasn't served in the standard form but as a palm-sized dumpling. The cheese and mac were coated in fried batter and served with a generous helping of tomato sauce. I must say, they were quire delicious and the serving size is perfect for an individual. 

Next we tried an incredible dish entitled the Chipotle Waffle that featured salsa, black beans and lashings of Chipotle sauce. The sweet and tangy flavors balanced well against the warm, crunchy waffle. 

The Taco Mexicana pizza is the best to have when you have a handful of friends around as every person will appreciate this unconventional take on the pizza. A spicy tomato sauce generously spread across the base kicks things off, and is topped with roasted sweet peppers, avocado, black beans, sauteed beef and Monterey Jack Cheese. Let's not forget the handful of Doritos as the finishing touch.

Every bite was incredibly crazy, but in a good way. I've never eaten pizza like this before. Once slide was good for me and I noticed the ingredients were fresh and the flavors quite unique. 

Fear not seafood lovers, the Sugar Factory has you covered. This gourmet seafood dish features the juiciest shrimps, white fish and scallops whilst enveloped in a perfectly made lemon sauce. 

If you're into pasta, you can thank your lucky stars. A selection of pasta awaits but I recommend the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta- flavorsome chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, herbs, roasted garlic among others made this pasta worthwhile. 

As I always say, no meal is complete without dessert. And since we were in a place named the Sugar Factory, it was only apt to go through the menu for something sweet.

Did I mention you will be spoiled for choice? Just like the drinks and main courses, the desserts menu featured so much variety, it became difficult to choose just one dish. At the end, we settled for the Classic Sundae. The presentation was so visually beautiful, nobody wanted to touch it (yes, I know- crazy!). 

This is the all-American dessert: three smooth as silk ice-cream scoops safeguarded with dollops of whipped cream, chunks of chocolate brownie, with generous drizzles of chocolate and caramel sauce topped off with birthday sprinkles. That's a mouthful just explaining it! The sundae is definitely meant to be shared and tastes as delicious as it looks. 

I was quite surprised when I savored the ice-cream. All three flavors- vanilla, chocolate and strawberry had a distinctly different but perfect taste to them. I enjoy ice-cream every now and then but haven't tasted such previously. It almost makes me think that the ice-cream may have been imported from the good ol' US of A. The strawberry flavor was the best amongst all (this, coming from a chocolate fan). 

Overall, my time spent at the Sugar Factory was delightful. The ambience is great, the service is impeccable, the seating arrangements are perfect, the food is delicious and you acquire value for every dirham spent (case in point: the Classic Sundae, good for at least 5 people will set you back by AED 35!). Oh and the candy is amazing! 

You have your old school favorites- Nerds, Pez, fruit sours, jelly beans (you must try the ocean blue colored ones- they are fantastic!), gummy bears, Runts, Push Pops, Sweet Tarts (they taste exactly how they used to when we were all kids!) and so much more. One of the things that stands out are the Couture Pops, lollipops designed by celebrities based on their favorite flavor and color. The stick of the pop is encrusted with faux gems. Makes a pretty cool collectible or a desk piece. 

I genuinely love this place and have pencilled in my next visit already. I see myself coming here with my friends to spend time just before catching a movie. Hey, if you are in the area why not complete it with entertainment, right? It's also a great place to celebrate your birthday (just head to the VIP section and be treated like a princess). 

Pencil Sugar Factory into your diary for the weekend and you'll definitely leave the place with a bag of candy in your hand and a smile on your face. Alternatively, you can pick up something sweet for the people in your lives (create a customized candy bag or pick the ones that exist). 

Sugar Factory is located in City Walk, Jumeirah and Dubai Festival City, Garhoud. 

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